|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
Ever since we were moved to this room, we’ve been having more peaceful times. After all, the only danger here is the medicine during meal time. For normal children, it’s no different from torture but for better or for worse, I’m here. Better yet, it’s now demoted to object for increasing our magic power. The medicine helps in practicing how to control magic power and lately, I’ve been sending some magic power to the girl as well so her magic power has likely increased by a lot. So, we mostly just pass time either by reading books —as suspected, it was by that man’s orders for her to read—, studying, singing, or sleeping. Even when she’s asleep, there hasn’t been any attempt on her life as well.
The girl’s dances have been evolving day by day and I noticed lately that she has been dancing while being conscious of her whole body’s movements, even that of her fingertips. Even if she’s just twirling, her center of balance is so stable that even an amateur like me can tell the difference. Still, I’m not really well-educated on dancing –or even singing, to be honest– so I don’t really know how it would look to other people.
The food, as usual, is hard bread and thin tasting soup. It doesn’t taste anything special, but just the fact that it does have some taste makes it completely different from when we were at the cell. Still, since she’s always on-guard every time that there are other people around, she really gives a cold and unfeeling impression. Well, looking at how they treated her, I do think that it’s only natural. She also gives that same impression when she’s reading by herself; but when she’s teaching me and dancing, she smiles quite a lot.
Because of her smile, I can still keep going on. Considering this, I really can’t thank her enough.
I wonder how long it has been since we started this unchanging lifestyle. Now, I finally have a better understanding of this world’s language, so we decided to officially have a proper conversation with each other. After all, although we’ve been with each other for years, we don’t even know each other’s name. It might have been better if I had introduced myself when I was already capable of talking, even if it was with broken speech. However, since our situation is quite complicated, I wouldn’t have been able to explain things to her with only a limited vocabulary. Besides, she probably doesn’t have a name. She seems to understand the concept of a name, but she doesn’t seem to know if she has one.
At the very least, the mask-faced butler hasn’t called her by name even during mealtime. He always used words that roughly mean Hey or You.
For me, I think that using the name I had when I was alive would probably need some explanation because it sounds completely different from the language here. And most of all, since I’ve already died, using my old name feels weird so I’m practically half-nameless now.
Again, I’m still hesitating on telling her that I was formerly male. After all, all the men around her are her enemies. Rather, all around her are nothing but men and enemies. And since that incident, I suspect that she may at least have a considerable issue with men. I might need to say it someday, but I don’t think that it has to be now. If possible, I’d like to at least make sure that I can support her until we can escape here and find her a place where she can live in peace.
And now, we’re about to have our first conversation, but having a heart to heart talk with someone the age of a primary school student feels really bizarre. Though in her case, she’s awfully wise and mature for her age, so I’m instead worried that I’m the one that’s going to be seen as the younger one.
「In this situation, I’m supposed to introduce myself first, right? But I think you’ve already noticed, I don’t have a name. That’s why, can I ask for yours instead? 」
『For now, my name is Ainsel. Please call me Ain.』
This name was something I have thought of using if I ever manage to communicate with her. Ainsel is just something I borrowed from one story I’ve heard of before. Rather than my old name, I feel like this one is more fitting for me. And with how smart she is, she probably already noticed that this name is only an alias. The polite speech is because it’s the only way I could think of to hide my masculine speech habits. She might find the way I talk weird, especially with how I’m not used to the language yet, but it’s better than her knowing that I was a man.
Even her way of speaking is a bit awkward as well, so I’ll just consider that we sound about the same. After all, except when she’s talking to me, she only speaks as little as possible. Worse, even just this exchange of ours might be more than how much she had spoken to other people in the past few days. And maybe it’s because she’s happy to have something to call me, she repeatedly mutters Ain to herself for a few times.
「Say, Ain. I know that we probably have a lot of things we want to say to each other. But before that, let me thank you. I’m sure that the only reason I’m still here, is because Ain protected me, right? If Ain wasn’t there, I would have definitely died. And if I hadn’t heard your song, I probably would have given up on living. That’s why, thank you, Ainsel. I’m sorry that I haven’t said it before.」
Her words had made all the hardships I faced ever since being reborn feel like it was worth doing it after all. These past years, all my effort wasn’t just pointless. I’ve saved a life. Just hearing it, saved me. However, I know that I’m not someone who’s qualified to receive her gratitude. My contrasting sense of fulfillment and guilt clash inside me, I can’t think of words. If this goes on, I might start endlessly apologizing, just as I did on that day.
If I do that, it would only be for my self gratification, I’m sure that I’ll only be bothering her. But even if I don’t do anything, she might be already bothered by me, as she worriedly asks 「……Ain?」 and tilts her head.
『I, was unable to protect you. For that reason, I’m, not qualified to receive your gratitude.』
I was so lost for words that I ended up saying these shameful words. However, it’s still my true thoughts. I can’t take back what I said, so I wait for her reply feeling like a criminal waiting for their judgment. Then, she shakes her head, waving her beautiful white hair, and denies my words.
「That’s impossible. Ain’s songs, have always healed my heart.」
『Still… I was the cause, for your lifelong scar. Just when I should’ve protected you, if only… if only I was more cautious of that man……!』
Unable to honestly embrace her kindness, I forget myself and squeeze my words out. However, as though to forgive all of my failures, she smiles at me with pink lips and starts spinning her words.
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「Ainsel. My gentle person. It was inevitable. No matter how much you could’ve protected me, my father, that man would have never given up. After all, I was born only for that moment. If ever we had displeased that man, he would have killed us. That’s why, it’s alright. More importantly, I’m really glad that that man didn’t discover Ain.」
『…… But still!』
「Of course I know that, as a girl, it might cause some problems in my life later on. I don’t really feel it, though. But you know, it’s doubtful that I can even live in the first place.」
Certainly, in this mansion, you can never be sure with your life. A powerless infant might die in a day. An ignorant child would be lucky to last two. Even a grown adult could die here any time. As long as we’re in this mansion, if that man’s aim was her virgin blood, no matter how much I protect her he would likely never stop. In that sense, it may certainly have been inevitable and might be a necessary rite. But still, I just can’t accept it.
「More importantly, I have something to ask you, Ain.」
When I was about to sink into my own thoughts, she called out to me. The sudden change in topic was probably her way of distracting me from my thoughts. As I suspected, this child is clever. Rather, maybe it’s me that’s not good in communicating. It’s been a few years since I’ve talked to someone like this. I might have forgotten how.
「Would you think of a name for me?」
「Ainsel is a name Ain came up with too, right? That’s why, it shouldn’t be hard, I think.」
『So it really was obvious…… my alias.』
「Ain didn’t really try to hide it, after all. But still, I won’t ask why, so don’t worry.」
She lets out a giggle saying so. I’d be troubled if she ever expands on that topic, so I replied 『Understood.』 and decided to think of a name. Looking at her, the things that might have made most of an impression to me are her jewel blue eyes and now white hair. Her white hair itself looks quite healthy compared to an elderly white hair. Blue and white. The first things that come to mind are…… the sea and sky of my previous life. Will it be the same color in this world, too? Wondering so, what came to mind was a name associated with them.
『How does Cielmer sound?』
「Cielmer…… in that case, people close to me would call me Ciel, right? Thank you for the beautiful name. For until now and from now on, please take care of me, Ain.」
『Of course, Ciel.』
She, Ciel, smiled at me with delight; so even just in my mind, I smiled back. Lately we’ve spent peaceful times here, but this might be the first time we had a moment this tranquil. Singing is enjoyable too, but this time now is a different, enjoyable gentle time. Now that I can talk, I desperately wish for more of these kinds of days.
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